Exhibitionsrss

‘Combs, Hair Highway’, 2014, by Studio Swine

Luxury isn’t the opposite of poverty but the opposite of vulgarity - but don’t tell the V&A

25 April 2015
What is Luxury? V&A
Apsley House

Different concepts of luxury may be inferred from a comparison of the wedding feast of Charles Bovary and Emma Rouault with the habits of their contemporary the Duke of Wellington.… Read more

Forces of nature: Maggi Hambling with ‘Amy Winehouse’, a painting exhibited at her Walls of Water show last year

‘This stuff goes on being alive’: Maggi Hambling on the power of painting

18 April 2015

Maggi Hambling is 70 later this year, and a career that took off when she was appointed the first artist in residence at the National Gallery, in 1980, shows no… Read more

‘Propeller (Air Pavilion)’, 1937

Better than Robert? Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern reviewed

18 April 2015
The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay Tate Modern

In 1978, shortly before she died, the artist Sonia Delaunay was asked in an interview whether she considered herself a feminist. ‘No! I despise the word!’ she replied. ‘I never… Read more

‘Observer’s Post’, 1939, by Eric Ravilious

Irresistible: Ravilious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery reviewed

11 April 2015
Ravilious Dulwich Picture Gallery

The most unusual picture in the exhibition of work by Eric Ravilious at Dulwich Picture Gallery, in terms of subject-matter at least, is entitled ‘Bomb Defusing Equipment’. In other ways… Read more

Head of a Man with Kausia, third century BC

Reimaging the lost masterpieces of antiquity

28 March 2015

For centuries there has been a note of yearning in our feelings about ancient Greek and Roman art. We can’t help mourning for what has irretrievably vanished. In 1764 Johann… Read more

‘Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington’, 1829, by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Wellington's PR machine

28 March 2015
Wellington: Triumphs, Politics & Passions National Portrait Gallery

The history of portraiture is festooned with images of sitters overwhelmed by dress, setting and the accoutrements of worldly success. Vanity, complacency and, frequently, insecurity have led men and women… Read more

Richard Diebenkorn 'Berkeley #5' (1953) . Copyright:
The Richard Diebenkorn Foundation

Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy reviewed: among the best visual evocations of LA there are

21 March 2015
Richard Diebenkorn Royal Academy

It is true that, like wine, certain artists don’t travel. Richard Diebenkorn, subject of the spring exhibition in the Royal Academy’s Sackler Wing, is a case in point: an American… Read more

James McAvoy Photo: Getty

James McAvoy is wrong – the arts are better off without subsidy

14 March 2015

The season of cringe-making acceptance speeches at arts awards ceremonies is nearly over, thank heavens. But it hasn’t passed without a most fatuous contribution from James McAvoy as he accepted… Read more

The dramatic centrepiece to McQueen’s 2001 spring/summer collection set in an asylum

Alexander McQueen may have been a prat but at least he was an interesting one

14 March 2015

Alexander McQueen famously claimed to have stitched ‘I am a c***’ into the entoilage of a jacket for Prince Charles. The insult was invisible behind the lining and his tailor… Read more

Left: ‘Dream of a good witch’, c.1819–23, by Goya Right: ‘Bajan niñendo (They descend quarrelling)’, c.1819–23, by Goya

Flying witches, mad old men, cannibals: what was going on in Goya’s head?

14 March 2015
Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album Courtauld Gallery
Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue Serpentine Gallery

It is not impossible to create good art that makes a political point, just highly unusual. Goya’s ‘Third of May’ is the supreme example of how to pull it off.… Read more

Camille Pissarro
The Avenue, Sydenham, 1871.
© The National Gallery, London

Inventing Impressionism at the National Gallery reviewed: a mixed bag of sometimes magnificent paintings

7 March 2015
Inventing Impressionism National Gallery

When it was suggested that a huge exhibition of Impressionist paintings should be held in London, Claude Monet had his doubts. Staging such an exhibition, he wrote to his dealer… Read more

ARTS_TATE&-BILES_heath_7march

The Heckler: Tate Britain is a mess. Its director Penelope Curtis must go

7 March 2015

Things have not been happy at Tate Britain for some time. Last year Waldemar Januszczak wrote an article culminating with this cri de coeur: ‘Curtis has to go. She really… Read more

‘Two Figures in a Room’, 1959, by Francis Bacon

The dos and don’ts of the Russian art scene

28 February 2015

They’re doing fantastic deals on five-star hotels in St Petersburg the weekend the Francis Bacon exhibition opens at the Hermitage. With tensions between Russia and the west at their highest… Read more

‘Group with Parasols’, c.1904, by John Singer Sargent

Sargent, National Portrait Gallery, review: he was so good he should have been better

21 February 2015
Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends National Portrait Gallery
Sir Jacob Epstein: Babies and Bloomsbury Foundling Museum

The artist Malcolm Morley once fantasised about a magazine that would be devoted to the practice of painting just as some publications are to — say — cricket. It would… Read more

Van Gogh's 'The Diggers' (1889). Credit: Collectie Stedelijk

Where Van Gogh learned to paint

14 February 2015

In December 1878 Vincent Van Gogh arrived in the Borinage, a bleak coal- mining district near Mons. He was 25 years old. He’d failed to become an art dealer. He’d… Read more

Sound and vision: spectators watch Polly Harvey in a glass box recording her new album

The future of the album lies in the gallery

14 February 2015
PJ Harvey: Recording in Progress Artangel at Somerset House
Christian Marclay White Cube, Bermondsey

The album is not what it was. It still exists, in record collections, as part of the torrential streaming of everything, and in the sentimental memories of those who lament… Read more

‘Woman at Her Toilette’, 1875/80, by Berthe Morisot

2015 in exhibitions - painting still rules

3 January 2015

The New Year is a time for reflections as well as resolutions. So here is one of mine. In the art world, media and fashions come and go, but often… Read more

Bloody-Vikings

Sorry – the Vikings really were that bad

10 August 2013

Sometimes the really obvious take on history turns out to be the right one. For generations, we all assumed that the atrocities perpetrated by the Germans in Belgium at the… Read more

‘Dalston Lane no.1’, 1974, by Leon Kossoff

Exhibitions: Leon Kossoff, The Bay Area School

8 June 2013
Leon Kossoff: London Landscapes Annely Juda Fine Art, 23 Dering Street, W1
The Bay Area School Thomas Williams Fine Art, 22 Old Bond Street, W1

Paint is but coloured mud, pace scientists and conservators, and it can be said that the human animal comes from mud and goes back to it. Thus are the activities… Read more

‘Hickbush Landscape’, by Patrick George;

Painting begins at 90 – celebration of Jeffrey Camp, Anthony Eyton and Patrick George

18 May 2013

The year 1923 was a good one for British artists, witnessing the birth of three painters who became friends and whose work epitomises a rich strand of realism in the… Read more

‘Queen Tomyris’, 1448–9, by Andreadel Castagno

Springtime of the Renaissance: Sculpture and the Arts in Florence, 1400–1460

11 May 2013
The Springtime of the Renaissance — Sculpture and the Arts in Florence, 1400–1460 Palazzo Strozzi, until 18 August; the Louvre, 23 September until 6 January 2014

Sixty per cent of the best Renaissance art is said to be in Italy, and half of that is in Florence. So why bother going to Florence for a particular… Read more

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Fruitful oppositions

26 May 2012

There are so many good exhibitions at the moment in the commercial sector that the dedicated gallery-goer can easily spend a day viewing top-quality work without paying a single museum… Read more

Religious doubt

23 April 2011

No description of Eric Gill is ever without the words ‘devout Catholic’, and Eric Gill: Lust for Letter & Line (British Museum Press, £9.99), while short, provides evidence to both… Read more

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Look and learn

5 February 2011

Bridget Riley turns 80 this year, a fact easy to forget when looking at the surging energy and contemporaneity of her pictures. She is a remarkable artist who, although imposing… Read more

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More real art, please

15 January 2011

Although I am an admirer of Dulwich Picture Gallery, and like to support its generally rewarding exhibition programme, I will not be making the pilgrimage to see its latest show,… Read more